Popular summer camp closes due to lack of staffing

Jun 18, 2021, 8:09 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2021, 3:19 pm

SANDY – The summertime staffing issues at recreation centers all over the Wasatch Front appear to be getting worse.  A popular summer camp in Sandy had to be cancelled for the next couple of months because they couldn’t find enough workers. 

The REBEL Camp, offered through the Alta Canyon Athletic Center in Sandy, is geared toward slightly older kids, ages 11-15.  Normally, kids can swim at the camp, do arts and crafts and go on two field trips every week.  However, they sent an email to parents saying, “We have tried every tactic, tool, and asset available to us to hire more staff. We want to be able to offer all the programs we as a recreation center offer, however, we are coming up short in our childcare program no matter how we look at it.”

So, the camp had to be canceled for July and August.  Youth Program and Child Care Coordinator Teah Hughes say the part-time positions, the ones normally offered to older teens, went largely unfilled.  She says teens were already swamped with other activities for the season.

Hughes says, “They had busy schedules.  Some of them are still in sports in their schools.  Some of them have other jobs and some of them just wanted to work a few hours a week.”

Plus, Hughes says other staffers quit and they couldn’t load any more work onto their current employees.

“Some staffers are working 40-45 hours a week,” she says.

Camp directors apologized to parents and kids who were enrolled in the program, and promised full refunds for July and August.  Parents like John Kinnear say they’re not upset with the camp, at all, but it’s a sad situation for their children.  He says they were looking forward to not being kept indoors all summer, unlike last year.

Kinnear says, “All of our kids were locked up for the entire summer and all they talked about this year was getting to go back to summer camp, and now it’s going to get cancelled, again.  It’s just such a bummer.”

Both Kinnear and his wife work from home, so they’ll be able to watch their kids instead of sending them to camp.  However, he says a lot of other parents don’t have that option, and they’ll have to scramble to find adequate child care.

“Alta Canyon Sports Center is, kind of, a lifeline for parents in this area who need affordable child care,” according to Kinnear.


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